Bay Area/ San Francisco
Published on January 19, 2013
What's Cookin' at Cookin'
While we here at Haighteration get excited about all the new retailers moving into the neighborhood, we're especially appreciative of the ones that have been around for decades. One of those special retail stores is Cookin', at 339 Divisadero. Anybody who has been inside this store knows what a unique place it is, visually and otherwise.

Cookin' owner Judith Kaminsky has collected and sold antique and vintage housewares for over 30 years. Her store started out in Cole Valley and moved to the Divisadero location in 1987. Walking into the store, it's hard to imagine what kitchen-related equipment could possibly be missing here. The majority of items featured in the store are made in France. Judith says that the French make the best kitchen housewares, and that she's very particular about quality. But she also occasionally carries "Made in America" favorites like authentic milk bottles. Rare and not so rare items are equally represented at Cookin', making it a resource for any kitchen and cooking lover. Over several decades in business, Judith has clearly become an expert in her field. She tells us that most of her store's visitors are repeat customers who have been coming for many years and are looking for specific things. During our visit to the store, we witnessed one customer seeking a particular kind of Pyrex glass vessel. She happily found it amongst the extensive vintage glass selection in the center of the store. The customer told us with a smile, "This place is a treasure trove."
The store is divided into categories by specialty articles, packed from wall to wall. There are collections of ceramic teapots on one shelf, a table full of beautiful vintage glass cake stands, and an extensive collection of old crock pots in the middle section amongst many other pots and pans. Whether you're considering gifting a vintage salt and pepper shaker set, or are looking for a special device you've seen Julia Child use, this shop probably has what you're looking for.
But Cookin' isn't all about the past. These days, vintage and antique items are making a comeback. Judith says she often has younger people coming in looking for items that are now trendy again, like jam or pickle jars, or hand-operated coffee bean grinders. Additionally, San Francisco is home to many wonderful food writers, who Judith says often visit her store hunting for props to feature in their articles or cookbooks.
It's hard to believe how anyone could keep track of such a large inventory, but somehow Judith knows each and every item. Perhaps it's because she finds them all herself, both on buying trips around the area and overseas. Four to five times a year, Judith travels to France to hand-pick rarities that are later shipped to San Francisco and sold in her wonderful and unique neighborhood store.
As a local retailer, Judith is well aware of the changes on Divisadero in recent years. When asked what she would like to see happen, she answers, "My customers who come from out of town are complaining about the difficulty of finding parking now. And instead of more restaurants and bars moving into the street, I would like to see more daytime retail businesses. Many of them are closing now." We hope that Cookin' will stay in the neighborhood for a very long time. Cookin' is located at 339 Divisadero Street, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 12pm to 6:30pm, and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.